February 10, 1948

PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. G. DIEFENBAKER (Lake Centre):

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Trade and Commerce. Is he in a position to advise when participation certificates covering the 1945 and 1946 crops will be paid?

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   PARTICIPATION CERTIFICATES FOR 1945 AND 1946 CROPS
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

My hon. friend is

aware that no increase in the initial pay-

Prices Committee

ments from the five year wheat pool can be made without an amendment to the wheat board act. The amendment has been prepared and will be on the order paper within the next few days. I am advised by the wheat board that payments can be made promptly after that amendment is approved by the house. Participation certificates for the 1945 crop are already in the hands of the wheat board, and cheques will issue, I am told, over a very short period as soon as the legislation is passed.

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   PARTICIPATION CERTIFICATES FOR 1945 AND 1946 CROPS
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PETROLEUM PRODUCTS


"prince Edward" On the orders of the day: Mr. W. CHESTER S. McLURE (Queens): In view of the short supply of fuel oil, as per statement made a few days ago, I desire to direct a question to the hon. the Minister of Transport. Is there a sufficient quantity of fuel oil in storage at Borden and Tormentine for the ferry steamers Abegweit and Prince Edward on the Borden-Tormentine route for the winter and spring seasons of 1948?


POSTAL SERVICE


On the orders of the day: Mr. W. CHESTER S. McLURE (Queens): Seeing that I did not get an answer to my previous question I will try another one. I desire to direct a question to the hon. the Postmaster General, or the Prime Minister, or both. Is it the intention of the government to set up a special committee of the house to study the problems of the rural mail couriers in order to give these most faithful servants a living wage?


LIB

Ernest Bertrand (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST BERTRAND (Postmaster General):

It is not the intention of the government to establish a committee, but as I said before, a bill will be brought in to give authority to make further supplementary payments.

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Sub-subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY PAYMENTS TO RURAL MAIL COURIERS
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APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO


The house resumed from Monday, February 9, consideration of the motion of Mr. Mackenzie King that a select committee be appointed to examine and report on the causes of the recent rise in the cost of living, and matters pertaining thereto. 5849-67§


CCF

Thomas John Bentley

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. T. J. BENTLEY (Swift Current):

When the debate was adjourned last night I was mentioning that when Canada developed a shortage of United States dollars, the government acted rapidly to take some corrective measure. When however Canadian citizens are faced with a shortage of Canadian dollars the government considers that a powerless committee is a good enough answer to this house and to the country. By their actions in these two matters they invite the suspicion that there is an ulterior motive, and possibly Mr. Warren Baldwin, writing in the Globe and Mail on January 9, 1948, hit on that motive. Mr. Baldwin has this to say, and I quote from a press dispatch of that day in the Globe and Mail:

Plans crystallizing here to take care of Canada's physical contribution to the still hypothetical European recovery program are predicated on a greater degree of austerity than is yet being practised by the Canadian consumer ... the Canadian public will be expected to produce an exportable surplus by cutting down on domestic consumption . . . counting on the rising costs of living in Canada to assist by cutting down the present spending spree . . . This principle applies in the food field itself... If higher prices themselves fail to take care of the situation it may be that other forms of pressure will have to be used.

And further on he says:

There are at least some members of the government who are finding it hard to shed very many tears at soaring prices so long as it contributes to the goal which it is expected the United States will demand that Canada achieve.

I suspected, and apparently he suspects, that Canada is being sold to the United States, and neither Canadian citizens nor this house of parliament know what the terms of the sale are. We only know the end result so far, and that is the high cost of living. I consider this method a rather cruel way of reducing consumption. If in order to play our proper and honourable part in assisting Europe to recover it is necessary to reduce our consumption, then every Canadian should make a sacrifice, and equality of sacrifice cannot be achieved by allowing prices to rise to a point where our less fortunate citizens are forced by economic pressures to do without many of the basic necessities of life. That equality of sacrifice can only be achieved by some form of rationing, and1 we have suggested the im>-position of price controls and the payment of subsidies as expedient and more practical than straight rationing, although even that may be necessary for some articles.

The payment, of subsidies will require the imposition of the excess profits tax, and I can see no hardship to corporations in that imposition. We have already had put on the record here some of the profit increases by

Prices Committee

many corporations. I want to quote a few more just to emphasize what I mean when I say that no hardship will result to the corporations by the imposition of the excess profits tax.

These figures are taken from the Financial Post of November 15, 1947, and have been quoted before during this debate. In 1945 the Simpson Company had a profit of $1,425,858. In 1946 their profit was $3,656,851, an increase of S2.230.993, or 156 per cent. That was a substantial increase in one year, which I believe was quite unnecessary. Zellers increased their profits in 1946 over 1945 by $231,967. Dominion Stores increased their 1946 profits- over 1945 by $456,116. Loblaw Groceterias increased their profits in 1946 over

1945 by $566,668. Canadian Bakeries, while they are apparently a smaller concern, increased their 1946 profits over 1945 by $71,669. Canadian Canneries increased their

1946 profits over 1945 by $697,144. The Borden Company increased theirs by $7,487,034; Silverwood Dairies increased theirs by $263,754; H. R. MacMillan Export Company alone increased theirs by $1,097,075. I gave the figures for Massey-Harris last night, and there are more figures here with which I shall not weary the house. I submit those only to emphasize again that I do not believe any hardship will result to these corporations by the reimposition of the excess profits tax.

Again, if these extra profits had not been made in 1946-and undoubtedly they will be still higher in 1947, according to all accounts we see in the papers-they could have been handled in one of two ways by the companies themselves. They could have been used to reduce the costs of the manufactured article, or they could have been used to increase the wage to the workers of those industries. As those corporations did neither, I see no reason why the government and the public should not have the benefit of those profits as a redistribution of income when there is low purchasing power on the part of many of our citizens, in order to level off the income in these days of high prices.

I know that some people will say that those increases in profits are not from profiteering. They will say that it was increased business which made them possible. That is a possibility; I do not deny it. But I have been listening for a good many years to certain types of advertising by businesses in this country, by means of which they drill into the mind of the consumer and the customer that volume cuts cost. If the volume of their business increased to the point where their profits increased as I have indicated by the

figures I have quoted, obviously the volume did cut cost; and somehow that cut in the cost should have been handed on to the wage earners, the consumers, or to the public treasury. These are the reasons why our leader early in the year gave voice to the six-point program he proposed, all based on the things which we believe and which have been supported generally in the speeches from this, the C.C.F. section of the house.

Our leader asked for the following measures: reimposition of price control; renewal of the subsidies on a number of things; the closing of the Winnipeg grain exchange, which could be done; reconstruction of the wartime prices and trade board-while it may be a big job, it is not impossible; continuation of the excess profits tax after December 31, 19*47, and rationing, if necessary, on some essential commodities. In spite of the courageous speeches made by members from the other side of the house, including the hon. member for Eraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank), the hon. member for Spadina (Mr. Croll) and, I believe, the hon. member for Terrebonne (Mr. Bertrand), the government has made it clear that it will not even give consideration to the imposition of price controls, the continuation of subsidies, or the imposition of the excess profits tax. That makes me wonder what the government hope to accomplish by the setting up of this committee. Do they expect a miracle, Mr. Speaker? I am sure they do not want it. It may happen.

The hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Han-sell) cited four things which would not be done; and if none of those four things is done, the committee will serve no purpose whatsoever except to provide a place in which members may spend their time instead of being here in the house or somewhere else. The chances against the miracle are great, because the committee is to be watched over by the eagle eye of a cabinet minister who will want the government policy-which is to discover nothing-carried out. He will be ably assisted by partisan members who will be equally subservient to government requirements.

The vast majority of Canadians have already said that they want price control. Let us see what the farmers have to say. I have here a leaflet containing the resolutions adopted at the fourteenth annual convention of the British Columbia federation of agriculture. This resolution, among others, was passed:

Whereas president H. H. Hannam of the Canadian federation of agriculture has issued a call to action to all member bodies of the federation, urging a nation-wide campaign of petitions, telegrams, delegations to members of parliament, and protest meetings, designed to

Prices Committee

press the government for the return of price controls on grains, feeds and feed ingredients, and the restoration of subsidies at the coming session of the House of Commons;

Therefore be it resolved that this 1947 convention of the British Columbia federation of agriculture commend our national body for this action and pledge our wholehearted support towards the realization of a powerful and effective protest campaign, and

Be it further resolved that, in order to strengthen and co-ordinate the campaign, regional conferences shall be called throughout the province as soon as possible, representatives-

And so on, with the idea of promoting that particular plan.

I think the members of this particular group and others have indicated quite clearly plenty of good reasons why this committee should not be set up-not because we object to committees, but because the committee will serve no purpose except that of taking up the time of the members. We believe that action is what is required now. I know there are a few people in the country who do not want controls. But, Mr. Speaker, in the old days when highwaymen and bandits were prevalent in some parts of the world the first government that attempted to control them and prevent them from preying on the^ peaceful public was considered to be a most radical government. The bandits felt they had the right to the kind of life they lived, the right to engage in their piratical activities. Even one of Kipling's poems, the Lament of the Border Cattle Thief, indicates the insult which the chief of the border band1 felt had been visited upon him because the British government refused to allow him and his tribe to prey on the peaceful farmers of the valley in his territory.

The beneficiaries of any system or plan of society-or lack of plan-complain when some privilege is taken from them. But, Mr. Speaker, at the present time the welfare of far too many of our Canadian citizens depends upon the action taken by this government and this parliament to permit a few people, who because of some historical events in their lives have now assumed positions in the economic world, to exercise control which this parliament should have.

I repeat that we see no good purpose to be served 'by this committee. We believe the government should get on with its job, as it has in some of the other instances I have mentioned during the course of my contribution to this debate.

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO
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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. G. H. CASTLEDEN (Yorkton):

Mr. Speaker, today the Canadian people find themselves in a desperate situation. The proposal that a parliamentary committee be set up at this time reveals how little that fact is

appreciated by those in control in the government here. For the past two years we have been facing rapid rises in the cost of living, which have used up the entire income of the people and drained their last bit of savings. The steepest increases have taken place in the past ten months, and the point now has been reached where the income of the average Canadian breadwinner no longer buys the food, clothing, fuel and care which his family requires for a proper Canadian standard. Each week new prices are announced on basic goods-flour, bread, milk, clothing, shoes, fuel, including coal, wood and oil. Each month, with monotonous regularity, the family finds that its income will not cover the new costs. Every wage earner in Canada is facing the problem of a rapid decrease in the amount of necessary goods his cheque will buy.

Recently I received a petition from my constituency, in the form of a resolution, which with your permission I should like to read to the house:

Whereas the rising cost of living is making it impossible for us to buy the necessities of life in food, clothing, fuel and shelter for our families and ourselves;

And whereas wages and salaries do not keep up with these rising costs, and so our savings are being completely used up;

And whereas there appears to be nothing to stop these costs from going completely out of the reach of the people who need these goods, and will ultimately bring unemployment and depression;

Therefore we urge, in the strongest terms possible, that the authorities at Ottawa who control 'these policies take immediate steps to control prices of food, clothing, shelter and fuel, as basic necessities of life, until the production and supply of these things is adequate to meet the needs.

People who have some savings, or who are in a position to ask their employers for increased wages, are fortunately situated; but those who are on fixed wages, those who are in receipt of war pensions or old age pensions, and wage earners with no savings, are in a desperate situation. Today I think of people out on the prairies in the crop failure areas who have practically no income this year, and who find the cost of living most alarming. Their deep concern is, first, that no effective action seems to be taken, and, second, that there seems to be no ceiling to limit the cost of living. In vain they wait for some action by the government in Ottawa to halt this upward trend, but nothing appears to be done; on the contrary government action sometimes actually makes the situation worse.

Let me give one example to illustrate what I mean. Until last October the prices of coarse grains were controlled. Thus the cost of feeding poultry, beef, pork and mutton was

Prices Committee

kept stabilized at least to some extent, and the cost to the consumer was kept within the reach of the average man's pay envelope. The government waited until the prairie farmers, who grow a large part of Canada's coarse grain, had delivered most of those coarse grains, I believe some 39,000,000 bushels of barley and millions of bushels of oats. Then suddenly the authorities at Ottawa removed the subsidies and turned over control of the prices of coarse grains to be set by the gambling on the Winnipeg grain exchange. Within a couple of weeks prices of these feed grains had increased ten, twenty, thirty, thirty-five cents a bushel, and those prices are still fluctuating to the detriment of both the consumer and the producer.

What was the effect of this action on the part of the government? The feed companies and the grain companies, who had purchased the grain at the lower price, by manipulating the market were able to pocket the difference. The feed companies, which had bought the grain at the lower prices, were now able to charge the increased prices for the feed they sold. As a result we hear such protests as that made last evening by the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank), who told us that the price of feed for poultry had doubled while the selling price of eggs had been reduced by about twenty cents per doz. The net result, as far as Canada was concerned, necessarily was that since it costs more to feed cattle and poultry it costs more to produce milk, butter and eggs. So the cost of these things to the Canadian consumer had to jump, and the cost of living rose tremendously right across the country with regard to foods which are the basis of the nutrition and health of the people of Canada. The farmer who produced the coarse grains and sold before the price increase naturally lost.

The Canadian people are demanding that the Winnipeg grain exchange be closed, and that gambling in foods be stopped. It is costing the Canadian people too much. I think every member of our group has received resolutions from the Saskatchewan wheat pool committees at various points asking for the closing of the exchange. Canada cannot afford it.

Members of this house have complained about these costs. The Canadian people, and rightly so, expect effective action in regard to the rising cost of living; and they want that action now. Six months from now it may be too late. The Canadian people went through one depression. We feel we cannot protest too vehemently against any delay; and we believe that setting up this committee can only bring about a delay in essential action.

The greatest danger from a continuation of the present policy is that Canadian income will continue to be inadequate to purchase the production of this country. When production declines, firms will start laying off employees, and unemployment will further aggravate the situation. The purchasing power of the Canadian pepole, reduced time and again, ultimately will bring about a depression. I am sure every thinking Canadian would do anything he could to avoid a repetition of the thirties. If that is to be done this price trend will have to be halted, so that purchasing power will remain in the pockets of the Canadian people. I repeat that the present situation is desperate, and though its full effect has not been felt as yet, effective action to cure it must be taken now.

In the face of this situation we came to Ottawa and the house reopened on January 26. What did we find? We were told the government proposed to set up a committee. Well, Mr. Speaker, a committee can investigate; it can cross-examine witnesses; it may even expose some profiteering. For several months it will meet frequently; it will hear government officials whose evidence will cover many pages in an endeavour to vindicate government policy. If representatives of large firms are brought to give evidence they will bring with them mountainous briefs prepared by highly paid legal advisers and chartered accountants. We are told that we will find some facts, that the proceedings of the committee will give publicity to the actions of the evil doers. The Prime Minister informed us that he thought publicity was much more valuable than penalties.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I should like to inform the government and the people responsible for the proposed committee that valuable as it may be in determining the ultimate policy and actions of the government, that type of investigation is not what the people of Canada want. What they want is action within the next few weeks. They are deeply interested in having the cost of living reduced to a point where they can all live better on the pay envelopes they bring home each week. A committee is simply not the machinery which will bring those costs down. It is not enough.

Someone has suggested that this might be a fishing expedition. Well, in a fishing expedition a fishing pole might be a valuable instrument. But what the people of Canada want is more action taken now which will put coal in their basements and food in their cupboards. That cannot be done with a fishing pole. They want the cost of living brought within the range of their pocketbooks.

Prices Committee

The strong exception taken by the C.C.F. group to this committee may have irked the government and hon. members opposite. This protest of ours is not a protest against the committee for what it may or may not do. Our protest-and we have made it as vehemently as possible-is against the policy of the government in not implementing measures immediately to stop the rapidly rising cost of living. It is because the committee which so far is the government's only answer, is just not good enough. It does not and it cannot meet the desperate needs of the situation of the people of Canada today. If the average Canadian were in this House of Commons this afternoon, or if he were speaking of the thing which is closest to him, I believe he would say this, through you, Mr. Speaker: "Please, Mr. King, what are you going to do right now to stop the rising cost of living?" The Canadian people know that a committee will not do it. As yet we have had no answer from the government or from any of its ministers as to what it intends to do now to stop the rising cost of living.

In his contribution to the debate the Minister of Justice (Mr. Ilsley) told us that subsidies were impossible at this time. My reply to him would be that he introduced a variety of subsidies during and since the war, and effectively prevented inflation in this country. He said that was an emergency. I should like to let him know there is an emergency in Canada today; and if the Canadian people have to make a choice between subsidies and unemployment or depression, they will be glad to have subsidies.

As this debate draws to a close the Prime Minister will rise in his place and Canada will be waiting for his answer. Doubtless he will berate this group for its protests; but that will not answer the question. The Canadian people want more than a parliamentary committee. We have a right to be informed that the government will do something to make it possible for the average man in this country to use his pay envelope so that it will bring to him and his family the things he requires for a proper living standard.

By way of constructive suggestion let me repeat one or two of the things which we think should be done to stop this rising cost of living.

First, we require proper fixed prices on essential articles of food, clothing, fuel and shelter. The basic necessities of the average home must be placed within the reach of the average breadwinner in Canada.

Second, I suggest closing the Winnipeg grain exchange, so that the value of feeds and

coarse grains will not fluctuate and wheat will not be allowed to go back on the grain exchange and be subject to constant fluctuations, thereby affecting the cost of living of the people of Canada.

Third, I suggest the restoration of the excess profits tax on all excess profits, so that the Canadian people will have the assurance that excessive profits are not being made by a few people while millions are forced to live in misery or without the necessities of life.

Such a program I understand will not be favourably received by those who had the privilege of grabbing all they could in a time when grabbing was good. But I suggest that this bare minimum is essential to meet the situation today, and it should be established until trade and production are restored at least- to normal conditions.

The Prime Minister's answer to the Canadian people will be one of the most important statements he will make in his long public career. I hope he will not waste too much of his time berating those who oppose his ideas. I venture to say he will have the support of every thinking member of parliament from every part of the house if he outlines a program which will stop the rising cost of living. I can assure him that he will have vehement and continuous opposition from this group if he does not.

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, if this debate has served no other purpose, at least it has been a fairly satisfactory test of endurance; and I am happy to discover that at the end of one solid week of sitting in the house, listening to what has been said back and forth in the course of the debate, I have found it possible to hold my own with anyone in the house-which, I suggest, is not too bad for one in his seventy-fourth year.

May I say further it has been something of a test of patience. Here again I take a certain amount of satisfaction from the thought that I have -been able to listen to what might almost be called a volume of vituperation at times, and yet have been able to refrain from saying anything disagreeable or nasty to those who were making remarks of that kind.

There is, however, this real satisfaction about the whole matter: What we have had to listen to is as nothing compared with what we would have had- to listen to from hon. gentlemen opposite had someone on the other side suggested or had he moved that a committee be set up to inquire into the cost of living and the government had refused to

Prices Committee

grant that committee. We would have been told from the different groups, and in many different ways, that, in dealing with a great problem-and I believe all are agreed that consideration of the cost of living is one of the greatest problems facing not only this country but the countries of the world today -the first necessary step to take was that of investigating the causes. We would have been told by hon. members opposite that that is the method physicians adopt when they seek to combat disease. I would point out to hon. members that the cost of disease is one of the factors which keeps higher than it otherwise would be the cost of living to families which suffer in that way. We would have been told by members of the legal profession that that is the method they adopt in seeking to solve the problems of their clients. They look first for the causes at the root of the trouble they are expected to remove. We would have been told by hon. members opposite that investigation into cause is one method scientists adopt in dealing with any question, no matter to what subject it relates. The first necessary step is to ascertain the causes of the trouble into which we are inquiring and to make those causes as clear to the public as possible. That is what the government is seeking to do.

The resolution before the house is a simple one, asking that a committee be formed to inquire into the causes of the high cost of living. It sets out one or two supplementary matters to help make clear the particular causes in which the public are specially interested, namely those relating to possible profiteering, hoarding and the like. Yet we have had all kinds of objections and all this week's debate with respect to the one request by the government, that the House of Commons join with it in doing the one thing which above everything else is necessary in dealing with this all-important question.

I made it clear at the outset that this was but one of the steps which the government was taking; I cited a number of instances of what the government had done already and I indicated that there were other things that the government intended to do. I said that this was to supplement other measures, not to be a substitute for any; that this was one additional means of helping to make clear what further steps there were that would assist in the solution of this problem.

That is a simple statement of what the house was asked to do. But what have we had from hon. gentlemen opposite in the way of acquiescing in that request? We have been forced to listen to a lot of declamation and ridicule; we have had to listen to many oppro-

brious epithets. We have had anger displayed by hon. gentlemen opposite; we have had threats of boycotting; we have had amendments moved to this simple resolution, and we have had appeals from the Speaker's rulings in regard to those amendments. On what grounds can these actions be defended? There is only one explanation that can be given. Hon. gentlemen opposite have recognized that this step which the government is taking is one which the people of thi* country want taken and want taken quickly. Because it has been taken by the government, they are doing all in their power to obscure the importance of that step. That is one explanation.

This motion -was the simple matter of asking hon. gentlemen opposite to join with us in having a committee of the house appointed to investigate the causes of the great problem of the rise in the cost of living in which they, like us, are interested; but they have taken advantage of this opportunity to belabour the government for coming forward with a suggestion which, if any suggestion in the world would be helpful in meeting this serious problem, this one would be.

There are perhaps other reasons. After listening to the debate it has not been difficult to discover that the members of the three groups opposite have felt that this was a good opportunity-seeing that the government had promised to give a good deal in the way of latitude and the Speaker being asked not to rule too rigidly on the different points that might come up in an effort to keep the debate to one issue-to bring out their different policies. They have exploited their policies by using the time of parliament which should have been devoted to other subjects. They have endeavoured to make the public familiar with what they regard as important in their particular policies.

The amazing part of this whole thing is that their policies are as divergent as it is possible to have them. The minute it comes to the vital question of discussing the: policies of hon. gentlemen opposite, that minute they begin to fight with each other like Kilkenny cats. They have no agreement whatever in the matter of policy, but when it comes to an opportunity, as they see it, of trying to embarrass the government they are ready to join hands and dance together merrily enough.

I hope that hon. gentlemen opposite will not think that the public are deceived by anything of the kind. The public have been watching their performance from outside the house with quite as much interest as I have from this side of the house. To me the week

Prices Committee

has been of interest in the sort of entertainment it has afforded and profitable in what it has revealed of the methods adopted by hon. gentlemen opposite in dealing with the public generally. The public will not be deceived by the performance we had in this house over the whole of last week and during the early part of this week on the part of hon. gentlemen opposite.

But there is something more serious than that. In the course of this debate we have had a good deal said that I believe is very unfortunate from the point of view of the future development of parliamentary practice and procedure and of the solution of great questions in this parliament. Among other things, we have witnessed an effort made to change the nature of what has hitherto been regarded as the duty of a parliamentary committee, to change a committee appointed for the purpose of investigating matters, into a committee to devise policy, into a committee which would take unto itself the obligation which, under the British system of government, has always rested on the shoulders of the government of the day. If we continue with that kind of thing we shall soon find the whole basis of our system of responsible government being undermined, with consequences which no one, at this moment, can foresee.

Then there was a suggestion that members of the house would not serve on the committee, that, not being able to have their own way, not being able to get others to see things just in the same light as they saw them, they would not serve, they would refrain from discharging a duty which is part of the obligation of every hon. member of parliament. I do not want to stress the point, but I was very much impressed when I heard the Minister of Justice (Mr. Ilsley) describe his experience in New York while attending the assembly of the united nations. He told us that walking out and refusing to serve was the method being adopted by some of the Soviet representatives at the united nations. I hope we are not going to have government in Canada carried on or developed along those lines, and I hope we have heard the last of any suggestion from hon. members that they intend to proceed in accordance with these new revolutionary methods, if they may be so termed.

Another thing which has been unfortunate is a tendency which has been clearly revealed of continuously appealing from rulings of the Speaker. The Speaker of the house is chosen by the members of the house to preside at its sessions. If there is one rule that is followed by the government at Westminster, above all others, it is that the ruling 5849-68

of the Speaker shall be respected by the house. Someone has to give-the final decision. Where it is obvious that the Speaker is deciding in accordance with rules which hon. members themselves have made for the protection of freedom of discussion and debate, then every time the Speaker's ruling is challenged and an effort is made to have it appear that the Speaker has not given a just and fair ruling, to that extent correct procedure in the House of Commons suffers a heavy blow which, in the course of time, will have far-reaching reactions.

I wish to say this to hon. members about this matter of appealing from the Speaker's ruling. I venture to say that every hon. member of this house knew very well that when the Speaker decided that a certain amendment was not in order because it did away altogether with the original motion, the Speaker was giving a correct decision. They must have known that. Yet they appealed from the ruling of the Speaker and what is-

Mr. KNOWLES: I rise to a point of

order-

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Sit down.

Mr. KNOWLES: I rise to a point of

order.

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Sit down.

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. KNOWLES:

The Prime Minister is

referring to a decision given by Your Honour and voted upon by this house. I submit that he has no right to discuss a matter that has already been settled, and that he is entirely out of order.

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

Or to impugn our honesty. He is impugning the honesty of everyone who voted against it.

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My hon.

friends may say what they like.

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

Mr. Speaker, on a point

of order-

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Sit down.

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

On a point of order, is

it not against the rules of the house for an hon. member to reflect upon a vote cast by any other member of the house? The Prime Minister is reflecting upon the honesty of the votes cast by hon. members on this side of the house on an appeal from your ruling, Mr. Speaker, and to do so is absolutely against the rules of this house.

Topic:   FLAXSEED-CATTLE REQUEST FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED ON FEBRUARY 9
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE INTO PRICE INCREASES AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO
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February 10, 1948